Updated February 2nd
Please note I have had to change my email address , which now is laurie.manser@gmail.com please use  this if you wish to contact me.
I do hope that some of the hints will be of use to you, I can only say what I do and why I do it
 as , there is not a right or wrong way of doing things in gardening .
I did write a small book about my life from a garden boy in the 40's and we sold it when I did my "Memory" talk, we donated 50p per book to the British Heart Foundation who received over £1000.00 as a result. I do not get it printed now but on the right is a link by which you can download it to read.
I have been asked to put my talk on to a disc for those who have been unable to hear it, I have done this and a few discs are available ,please email me for details.
At the bottom of this page if you click on "older posts" there are more hints

Garden Hints for February

We have a changeable time with the weather this year but you do have to work with the weather rather than the book.
It may well be too wet to do very much on the soil but you should be getting ready. Seed   potatoes should be set up with the eyes uppermost, so they form some good sprouts ready to plant. When the soil is dry enough one of the first things to get in will be the shallots followed by the spring onion sets. I like to plant shallots using a trowel to just move some soil to one side stand the set and then just firm round but not on the sets. If you press down on the set it firms the soil underneath and then the first new roots tend to lift the shallot and later you have to replant. Onion sets however should be planted just under the surface and with them I like to cut off any excess dry top that shows above the soil so that the birds do not pull them up when looking for nesting material.
            When the soil is suitable you can plant new fruits like raspberries, gooseberries and currants. I do not like to prune gooseberries too early in case the birds decide to have a go and peck the buds out, if you had already pruned they would be taking buds you need rather than some of the extras that you will prune off. Do allow plenty of space for them to grow. I like to prune these back once they have settled in and not expect fruit in the first year. If you have not completed any winter pruning of apples and pears then when there is not any frost about you should get it done before the leaves start to break.
            Now is a good time to prune wisterias if you have not already given them a winter prune.To get wisterias to flower well they do need two pruning twice,  once in about July when you reduce back the long new growths to about a third followed by another in the winter when you can further reduce those growths to a couple of buds. If you want to extend the area covered you can leave news grow to up to 2 ft – 3 ft , 60cms – 90cms but no more. This will give you flower buds along the new wood but if you leave them the full length often they will break at the ends leaving large gaps.
If you have dahlias etc.in store then now you should be checking them over ready to start them into growth if you want to take cuttings later. If you are just going to split the tubers up there is no rush. Next month will be the busy one for sowing the seeds etc.
Daffodils can be given a high potash feed to help with the colour of the flowers also to help build up the bulbs for next year. I like to use VitaxQ4 it is now granular which makes it easy to apply
            Unless there is damage to the edges that need repair or holes that need filling I would stay off the lawns until next month when you can feed and attack the moss etc.

2018 Sweetpeas

I sowed my sweetpeas on October 8th as I have done for many years, I have good germination 48 seedlings out of 50 seeds. I think there might be one or two to come up yet. They are looking rather drawn as with no garden or greenhouse I am very limited as to where to put them. I must single them out within a few days.
I have just singled the sweet peas into root trainers, there are 51 from 50 purchased seeds. They always allow one or two extras.

The second picture taken on Jan. 6th show sweet peas breaking with out being stopped , they are been outside ever since they were put into root trainers

My latest picture taken om Friday 16th February shows plants no waiting to be planted once the ground is suitable.

Sweet peas

Thse are my first bunch picked 25th May which is right as I usually pick chelsea week.
I went to my allotment this morning to check after hard frost. pleased to see sweet peas still looking good. They were sown on 8th October last year.

Potatoes ready for planting after at least ten weeks chitting, I will plant them on the flat so that I ahve plenty of soil for earthig up  and the potatoes grow through the centre of the ridge rater than come out of the side.

more onion news

More pictures to show the progress pf my onion sets. Top two taken 14th April

Onion sets just starting to  show, I plant well down in the soil so that no trouble with birds, having got rid of white rot I get a good crop.

Onion 2016


I am putting these pictures onto my website to show the effect of using garlic powder for white rot. When I first took over this plot I suffered a complete loss of my onion crop due to white rot, I have treated this area with garlic powder and this year they really do look good. I just need some sun to help ripen them up.

Sweet peas

It has been a bad year for me with sweet peas, I decided to try saving my own seed last year and this has been very reasonable but when I planted the plants back in March ,  the very next day we had storm Katie. This almost blew them out of the ground but enough survived to amke  best part of a row. As they came into flower I had bud drop plus a spell in hospital, this meant I had to let the plants go for about a week meaning bent stems. However when show day came I managed one vase of ten, these were good enough to bet  best in show so I still hold the cup which I forst won 42 years ago. I have not had it every year but will keep trying.

Some of my seedling daffodils

These are 3 of my seedlings that I have registered and named over the years. I have had prizes at London shows with them including "Best" in section with Ann's Blush. We also have Molly Ann named after our grand daugther
Top bloom Ann's White , bottom left Ann's Cream.and bottom right Ann.s Blush

Broad Beans 2016

Thess last two photos were taken on May 8th, the row is not complete as I lost a few in the bad storm but should get a good crop before the blackfly start
In past years I have sown my Aquadulce broad beans direct in the round in Oct/Nov but this year as the ground was very wet and in the past I have lost some to the mice etc. I have tried starting them in a tray. I have no greenhouse now so they have been in a cold frame. They are now ready for planting out and look quite good.

broad beans 2014/15

Broad Beans now in flower , they came through the winter very well.
Some of my Aqaudulce broadbeans , I sow in late October as they are a good hardy variety to stand the winter.  Sometimes they get damaged with servere frost but even then they will break at soil level.

Had some sucess at our show  Saturday April 11th. Many varieties were not out but using those that were I won 4 trophies along with 10 first prizes. I am very pleased as they are all grown on my allottment now having lost our agrden when we moved from the tied house. The pink trumpet is called Pink Silk.

Daphne in bloom , grown from seed

Daphne in bloom , grown from  seed

Top picture shows ready to plant early March

Now ready to plant early March

There seems to be a lot of chat about if we should chit seed potatoes ready to plant or not. I always say there are  many different ways of doing things in gardening, but just looking at the alterantives. If you do not  chit you have to  leave the poatoes in the bag which will give you  long weak shoots whereas the shoots are much better if laid  out, so I chit as in the photos.  I bought these just before  Christmas and they will not be planted for some long time yet. The larger ones will be cut when I plant them.